Pyrenees Mountain View
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***Please note, this is a work in progress.  I shall be adding material continuously.***

If you are interested in healthy, outdoor activities, sightseeing or just gathering new experiences, Fos provides an excellent base to operate from.

Contents:

     Activities
     Sightseeing
     Local facilities - restaurants, shops etc

Tourist Offices

The following tourist offices will supply lots of information about permanent attractions and events happening in the area:

Saint Beat - The main village just down the road. French only, sorry.

Bagneres de LuchonBagneres de Luchon/Superbagneres - One of the 'Grand Sites' of the Pyrenees.

Loures Barousse - Pretty little town further down the valley to the north

Saint Gaudens - St Go! Market town and admin capital of our little area

Val d'Aran - Tourist info for the whole of the Val d'Aran across the border

Activities


The GR10

The long distance walk, the GR10, runs the entire length of the Pyrenees from Hendaye on the Atlantic coast to Banyuls-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean sea. Fos lies approximately in the middle of the route and Le Repos du Moine is 50m from it. From here you can make half day or day hikes along the route from Fos. Obviously we welcome all walkers attempting the entire route.

***For walkers who reserve in advance to stay with us, we offer a provisions re-supply service***


For more information, please consult the following links:

Wikepedia - general information and definition, including more links.

Pyrenean Way
Steve Cracknell's site dedicated to the GR10 along with details of his book 'If You Only Walk Long Enough'

MountainBug
Mountainbug
 - specialists in activity holidays with a good illustrated diary of the GR10 route.



Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre - Official organisation for walking in France.  French only.  Sorry.

Lac d'Oô (40km from us)

Lac d'Oô, Pyrenees, walking
Probably the most popular walk in this area and the second most visited place in the Pyrenees after Gavarnie, it can get busy in the summer and so is not for people who want to get away from 'it' all.

The path zig zags from the granges (barns) d'Astau up through the forest to a picturesque lake with waterfall. The climb is 365m and takes about an hour. Another 163m and another hour will bring you to Lac d'Espingo. I think it's worth it.




Bear Monument

Other walking

You don't have to be an intrepid trekker to enjoy the Pyreneen scenerey. There are many gentler walks in the surrounding hills which offer magnificent views. The picture on the right shows the monument to 3 Slovenian bears, released as part of the repopulation in the Pyrenees. It is a gentle one and a half hour walk from Le Repos du Moine




Guided Activities

'Par Monts et par Vaux' (By Mountains and by Valleys)

Par Monts et par Vaux, guided tours, Fos, Pyrenees Par Monts et par Vaux - Philippe, an excellent English-speaking guide, who lives in the village offers a wide selection of activities to enhance your enjoyment of the beautiful mountains here. There are plenty of options: a guided walk, including delicious Savoyard meal or beer festival; a tour to see the splendid nature in the area - marmots, deer (bears?); a snow-shoe trek with a night in an igloo and many more. We would be be pleased to liaise with Philippe to arrange any of the activities he offers. Please see the Par Monts et par Vaux website for more details.

Activities on the river


Kayak and canoe on the River Garonne
We overlook the River Garonne which rises in Spain as La Garona and flows all the way via Toulouse to Bordeaux.  Here, where the river is narrow and fast you can enjoy a little excitement kayaking and rafting.

AntignacRaftingAntignac rafting offer rafting, canoe, kayak, hot  dog (appears to be a kind of inflatable canoe), airboat and hydrospeed (a bit like a luge on water).  French website only.


Thermalism


The Pyrenees are peppered with towns which have thermal spas and this area is no exception. There are 3 close to us. Please note that boxer/bermuda type trunks are not permitted in most spas; you have to wear briefs.

Termas Baronia, thermal spa in Les, Spain
Termas Baronia
(website currently only avaiable in Spanish, Catalan and French), the nearest to us, 10 mins just across the border in Spain is a beautiful thermal spa. It offers: steam room, sauna, ice bath, warm marble room, three jacuzzis at variable temperatures, footbath, reflexology Chinese track (like a flooded cobbled street), indoor and outdoor pool, gym equipment and relaxation area. Personalized beauty treatments including an unusual facial involving local caviar, manual therapy and hydrotherapy are also available.

Thermes de Luchon, thermal spa, Bagneres de Luchon
Thermes de Luchon.
In Bagneres de Luchon (half an hour by car) the thermal spa is a working medicinal spa where people regularly come for various cures. However, for a relaxing afternoon after hitting the bars and shops it boasts a vaporarium unique in Europe carved into the mountain behind the main reception building and a pleasant swimming pool with jets.


Balnea, thermal spa, between Val Louron and Peyragudes
Balnea.
(website currently only available in French and Spanish) Just under one hour away by car, Balnea is a beautiful spa, located near the mountain village of Bordères Louron. It offers a variety of spa baths in Roman, American Indian and Tibetan themed areas. There is also a gym and healthy food, environmentally friendly restaurant.

Skiing


Fos is centrally placed to access 4 diverse skiing resorts offering both alpine and nordic skiing at all levels:

Le Mourtis (17 km) Our local ski resort.  It contains 25 km of delightful downhill runs through the surrounding pine forests and arguably the 'best' black run in the Pyrenees.  In addition it has 45 km of nordic skiing through forest tracks.  French website only)

Superbagnères (26 km) is the ski resort which overlooks the thermal spa town of Bagnères de Luchon so you can finish off a day's skiing with a relaxing soak.  There are 32 km of downhill and 4 km of nordic skiing.  The ski resort is served by a high-speed cable car (8 mins) from the main town.

Peyragudes (40 km)  2400m at its summit, Peyragudes comprises the twin resorts of Les Agudes and Peyrasourdes on either side of the mountain and offers 60 km of superb downhill pistes.

Baquiera/Beret (46 km)  Premiere resort in all Spain extending to a height of 2500 m and with a massive 108km of downhill slopes as well as a 7 km cross country circuit.

Mountain biking (VTT)


There are wonderfully dangerous opportunities to break your neck descending down the local countryside.  Both Le Mourtis and Bagnères de Luchon are geared up to hire kit and provide excellent routes down the mountains. You can take your bike up the cable car at Luchon.

Sightseeing


Pyrénées Hô (13km)


Pyrenees Ho adventure park

In the heart of Comminges, 1h15 from Toulouse and close to Spain, you can find this 100% natural adventure park, built in the middle of woods and mountains! With family or friends, come to challenge the five elements, on the ground or up in the air, there's something for everyone!

Link: Pyrénées Hô - French only

Val d'Aran (5km)


This hidden corner of Spain, partitioned from the rest of the country by the high peaks of the Pyrenees is particularly beautiful and has a totally different feel to it as soon as you cross the border just 4 km from our B&B. Although it is part of Catalnunya, it has it's own culture and unfathomable language.  The two towns of Les and Bossòst and the privincial 'capital' of Vielha provide a pleasant outing for shopping, eating and drinking.  There are, in addition, many pretty villages to explore.

The following link gives more information:

Val d'Aran, Catalunya, Spain, Vielha, Bossost, Les, Baqueira, Beret - Pyrenees Essence Val d'Aran - Pyrenees Essence - Excellent website with more information about the valley; English version.

Aran Animal Park (19km)

Aran Animal Park, Col de Portillon, nr Bossost, Val d'Aran, Spain Website in French/Spanish


'Discover the flora and fauna of the Pyrenees'. A wide range of animals including all types of deer, white and brown wolves, even a couple of bears in (sort of) natural habitat. Highly amusing marmottes. Go early in the morning or last thing at night to avoid loudly talking tourists. A good way to while away a couple of hours while exploring the Col de Portillon between France and Spain with its great views of the Val d'Aran.

Bagnères de Luchon (26km)


As well as an outdoor activities centre, Bagnères de Luchon (twinned with Harrogate) is a pretty market town in its own right. As well as shops, bars and restaurants. The market takes place on Wednesday and Saturday.

Links:

Luchon tourism site in English.

St Bertrand de Comminges (25km)


St Bertrand de Comminges, village near Fos, Maison Bridaut
St Bertrand de Comminges has been built on the site of a Roman city, at the base of the Pyrenees, and still has some Roman remains. It was a large town called Lugdunum Convenarum, where Pompeii ruled over 100,000 inhabitants. Things have changed slightly and the village now has about 250 inhabitants! It is in a lovely sleepy location, surrounded by the lush green valleys of the region and overlooked by the Pyrennean foothills. Within St Bertrand de Comminges you can see some very traditional barns of the region, with their impressive carpentry work clearly visible. The house that now holds the post office is a splendid 15th century town house known as Maison Bridaut.




St Bertrand de Comminges cathedral, Fos

St Bertrand de Comminges cathedral


The Cathedral of Saint Mary dominates the quiet village below where the attractive little medieval houses huddle in its shadow. The cathedral is not exactly understated, it looks as much like a fortress as a cathedral and was built in the 12th century. It is a highlight of a visit to St Bertrand de Comminges - above all for its belltower, cloister and gate. Don't miss the carvings in the choir - a fine show by the best of Toulouse craftsmen in the early 16th century. There are also some excavated remains of the original Roman city to see.

Links:

St Bertrand official website (French only)

Maison des Sources


Maison des Sources, Mauléon Barousse, Haute Pyrenees

'Doesn't sound very exciting but this building with park makes a very pleasant half day out. Interesting presentation on the history of the water supply to the area (French, sorry) and beautiful surroundings make it definitely worth a trip.

Link: Maison des Sources - French only

Local facilities


Restaurants


La Gentilhommiere  Excellent cuisine and cosy atmosphere run by Astrid and Jean-François


Auberge du Crabère - Homely restaurant in the nearby picturesque mountain village of Melles (3km)

Other


The village contains a bakery (Thu-Mon normally, Thu-Tue school hols) and a post office (Tue, Thu, Fri Sat a.m.) and a magnetiseur.

Markets

St Gaudens market, midi-pyrenees

Local markets take place in the following towns on the days indicated:

Bagneres de Luchon: Wednesday and Saturday.

St Gaudens (pictured): Thursday & Saturday(?).

Montrejeau: Monday.

Loures Barousse: Friday

St Beat (not much): Friday.